COLUMBIA, S.C. — "High speed internet is an essential service and our rural communities cannot wait another day," said Congressman Jim Clyburn during a webinar with state officials and community members as South Carolina's new broadband maps were released.
The maps are intended to help policymakers at both the state and federal level figure out how to spend money to help make the internet available across South Carolina.
"South Carolina now has what we believe to be some of the most accurate and up-to-date broadband maps in the country," says Clyburn continued, saying the results from the maps are striking.
More than 150,000 households do not have internet access.
The congressman went on to say that many of these households are in the rural parts of South Carolina, where high speed internet is not available at any price.
South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman says the Department of Education found the numbers to be slightly higher.
The S.C. Department of Education found 160,000 households who have at least one student and do not have access to the internet.
Kershaw County School District officials say they feel the challenge, as well.
"We purchase the devices, we train the teachers, we train the students but when we send them home, it’s beyond our capability to make sure every student has access to the internet," says Mary Ann Byrd, Kershaw County school district community relations director.
Congressman Clyburn says that next week Congress will be voting on $100 billion broadband bill to bring internet access to every American household in the next decade.
The maps can be found at the SC Digital Drive website.